I came across this today and realized that most of the articles I've read referencing this DHS report discuss families affected by deportation in terms of foreign-born parents having a child whose citizenship is granted jus soli. Yes, these families deserve protection, but we should also demand to know how many of those 46,486 American kids with a deported parent also have a citizen parent.
When we focus so narrowly on where a child was born, it creates space for "yuh-huh"/"nuh-uh" debates over "anchor babies" and the 14th Amendment. For one side of the debate, solving the "problem" becomes a matter of ensuring that children born to undocumented parents are never granted citizenship in the first place -- as if tweaking the 14th Amendment would immediately drop that 46,486 to 0. It therefore becomes a debate between Fox News soundbites on the one hand and an intellectually rigorous understanding of US history and constitutional law on the other; in America, guess which side loses?
When we widen the scope of the debate to include mixed-status families, we can see our immigration laws for what they are: an extremist effort to treat borders as color lines by disciplining even jus sanguinis US citizens for having the audacity to marry or be born in defiance thereof. These USCs must choose to either forsake their country or their parent or spouse. The only way for these USCs to re-enter rights-bearing American society with the foreign-born parent or spouse is by suffering "extreme hardship" and begging forgiveness through a humiliating waiver process.
(Mind you, mixed-status families aren't just a white parent and a brown parent, but the de facto deportation of Americans of any color still accomplishes the goal of isolating/kicking out/keeping out undocumented immigrants -- who are largely persons of color -- by isolating/kicking out/keeping out anyone who whose relationship to that person runs contrary to that goal.)
So where are those numbers on mixed-status families and why do we pretend that undocumented immigrants only ever marry and construct a family with other undocumented immigrants? The answer is quite simply that recognizing the depth of undocumented immigrants' connections and contributions to US society lays bare US immigration law as a system of institutionalized racism and makes anything remotely resembling the status quo untenable.
I don't want to ignore the equal rights of USCs with foreign-born parents -- we cannot condone tiered citizenship -- but the discussion has to be expanded if it is to effectively explode the insidious prejudice that quietly assumes that people stick to "their kind," that "their kind" should know "their place," and that "their place" is in another country.